Big Day at NVWG

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News October 2014

Kenneth Matthews had one event-filled birthday.

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Matthews celebrated his 66th birthday Aug. 16 at the 34th National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) in Philadelphia and competed in events all day.

He started with an obstacle course-type of event called “slalom” at 8 a.m. and ended it with boccia at 6 p.m.

The Navy veteran was thrilled and couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate his life.

“So [I’m] competing and enjoying life, enjoying the opportunity,” says Matthews, who lives in Port Washington, Wis.

Matthews served in the Navy from 1972–76 and was a storekeeper for on-board combat storage. He sustained a C-6, C-7 complete spinal-cord injury in 2003 when he tried to park a car and it flipped over.

He started going to the Games in 2005 and this is his ninth one. Matthews loves the competition — as he also competed in bowling, table tennis and handcycling — but enjoys helping first-time Games participants or other veterans with tips, too. Encouragement and camaraderie are just as valuable.

“[I give them tips on] how to make a certain turn or how to get in or out of a chair a certain way, maybe a little different look at how you approach something,” Matthews says. “There are a lot of guys that mentored me and still mentor me along the way. So it’s just passing it on.”

The Games ran Aug. 11–18 and included air rifle, air pistol, track, field, bowling, basketball, 9-ball, table tennis, power soccer, quad rugby, archery, trapshooting, hand cycling, softball, weightlifting, swimming and other events.

For videos, pictures and more articles on the Games, visit A feature article will also be included in the November issue of PN.



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Big Day at NVWG


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